NSW Police Force
Event – Attempt Murder of Constable Patrick McGuire – July 1841
Constable John McGUIRE in July, 1841.
Previous editions of this book ‘ Beyond Courage ‘ (and other works) have listed the death, near Goulburn, of Constable John McGuire. Recent research has shown that the constable’s name was actually Patrick McGuire, he was stationed at Queanbeyan, and he survived being shot and viciously assaulted in February, 1840 by bushrangers Patrick ‘Paddy’ Curran and James Berry. Both were later arrested and convicted of shooting Constable Patrick McGuire with intent to murder him..
James In July, 1841, Constable McGuire was escorting two bushrangers, James Berry and Patrick ‘ Paddy ‘ Curran, to Berrima Gaol. Both prisoners escaped after shooting the Constable near Goulburn. No other details are known.
The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser ( NSW )
Monday 20 September 1841 page 2 of 4
Supreme Court. EQUITY SIDE
CIRCUIT COURT—BERRIMA. The Court was opened on Wednesday last, by His Honor Mr. Justice Burton, with the usual ceremonies.
Mr. Edmond Burton; the Clerk of Arraigns, having read over the proclamation against vice and immorality, the Jury were called over, when it appeared that several gentlemen had been summoned from Goulburn and other places, exceeding the distance of thirty miles, appointed by the Act. His Honor ordered them to be discharged.
His Honor then delivered a lengthy address, which our space will not allow us to insert in this publication.
Patrick Curran was first placed at the bar and indicted for ravishing, one Mary Wilmore, at Bungadore, ( Bungendore ) on the 8th of February, 1841.
It appeared by the evidence adduced, that the prosecutrix was the wife, of a labouring man, who resided near Bungadore, and that on the day stated in the indictment, her husband went to some place a few miles off. During her husband’s absence from home, the prisoner and a man named White, went into the hut and obliged the prosecutrix to make them some tea; the prosecutrix went out of the hut to procure some wood; when Curran followed her, knocked her down, and putting a knife across her throat, then committed the offence with which he was now charged.
The Jury found the prisoner guilty.
Patrick Curran was again placed at the bar, and indicted for aiding one Patrick Berry to shoot at a person named Patrick McGuire, with intent to murder him. The following are the circumstances of the case; the prisoner had been committed to take his trial, having been guilty of a variety of offences, and was sent, together with a man named Berry, towards Berrima, with an escort of two constables named McGuire and Wilmore. On their route, they stopped at a hut to have some tea; Wilmore left the hut, and having been absent for a considerable space of time, McGuire went to call him; at this moment, Curran and Berry made a rush and seized the constables’ muskets, which were left in the hut. They then came out of the hut; and, presenting the muskets at the constables, demanded the key of the handcuffs. Wilmore ran away, but McGuire rushed upon the prisoners and, seized Curran’s musket, and held Berry in such a way that he could not present his gun ; a scuffle ensued, and Berry got his gun released, and McGuire was then shot in the back of the head and shoulder, and was severely beaten by the prisoners as to remain for a long time insensible.
His Honor charged the Jury, and said that the point for their consideration was, whether Berry actually fired the gun, or whether it went off by accident during the struggle.
The Jury after about a quarter of an hour’s deliberation, found the prisoner guilty.
His Honor then passed sentence upon the prisoner.
The Court adjourned until Thursday.
Australasian Chronicle ( Sydney )
Tuesday 21 September 1841 page 2 of 4
Berrima Assizes Wednesday, September 16. This morning, about ten o’clock, his Honor Mr. Justice Burton, accompanied by the High Sheriff, arrived at Berrima, escorted by some of the most respectable settlers in the district; and shortly after the court was opened with the usual formalities. The royal proclamation against vice and immorality, and for the encouragement of piety and virtue, having been read by the judge’s marshal, and silence being commanded, his Honor delivered the following charge:- …….
Patrick Curran was then indicted for having committed a rape on the person of Mary Welsmore, a married woman, at Bungadore, ( Bungendore ) on the night of the 8th December, 1841.
Mary Wellsmore – I know the prisoner at the bar; he came to my house on the night of the 8th of December, about eleven o’clock; he knocked and asked me to let him in, and I refused; I then threatened to shoot him, and he said if I fired I should not live a minute longer; he then forced the door open; I had a child in my arms at the time; he then forced me to make him some tea; there was another man (White) along with him; I had no candles, and the light I had was by burning small dry wood and when I was going out for some more wood White would not let me go. Prisoner then said it was no …. use, he must have what he wanted ; I then ran out, and he followed me and knocked me down; I screamed and called out to White to come to my assistance; he did not come, but went to hide himself. Prisoner then took out a knife and drew it across my throat; I can swear it was the blade part he put on my throat, and said, you – – , if you do not be quiet I will cut your throat, and throw you into the waterhole.
The rest of the evidence was such as to render it unfit for publication, the prosecutrix having distinctly proved the capital part of the charge.
Cross-examined by Mr. Hustler.–I have been married seven years; I lived before I was married at Oliver and Smart’s, in Pitt-street, Sydney; I have three children; they were all born since I was married.; I never saw the prisoner before that night; I did not know his name was Patrick Curran; they told me that was his name; I tasted the rum; I did not drink it; they forced me to taste it; I did it through fear; they were there about an hour; it might be more; my husband was gone to Goulburn; the nearest hut is not a quarter of a mile, about five or six minutes’ walk; I shouted for assistance; no one came; the men told me next day they heard me; Mr. Griffiths told me next day that it was Curran, from the marks and description I gave of him; I said he had a blue jacket and white trousers, and a flat nose; Mr. Griffiths said it was Paddy Curran, and that he had insulted another female that day.
By the court -I came a free immigrant; I came in the Duchess of Northumberland; I lived only six weeks at Oliver and Smart’s, when I got married.
By a juror – White was brought singly when I saw them; Curran was also taken singly; the people told me Paddy Curran was taken, and I went to identify him.
Re-examined–I would have known the prisoner among six men; I should have picked him out of half a dozen.
Patrick Macguire– I am a constable in the district of Queanbeyan; I apprehended the prisoner at the Black Range, at Molonglo, about twelve months ago; John Nuttall was with me when I took him; prisoner had a pistol in his possession.; I knew Curran to be a runaway prisoner of the Crown.’
Mr. Hustler addressed the jury for the prisoner, commenting on the nature of the evidence, and said that it was such as the jury could not solely depend upon, and that in cases of this kind corroborative testimony ought always to be adduced, or else an accusation was easily made out, and very difficult to be defended by the prisoner.
The jury retired for about twenty minutes, and returned a verdict of guilty.
The prisoner was again placed at the bar, and indicted, as an accessory with one James or John Berry, for shooting at Pat McGuire, at the Ten-mile station, with intent, &c.
The jury, after deliberating about a quarter of an hour, brought in a verdict of guilty.
Sentence of death was passed. The prisoner said, in a loud voice, “You’re hanging a better man than the prosecutors;” and did not appear in the least degree moved by his fate.